Designing a Better B2B Customer and Partner Experience

How a better customer experience streamlined processes, reduced costs, and drove greater customer and  partner engagement across channels and journeys for a global software leader.

Challenge: Provide a consistent and relevant customer experience across product lifecycles

A lack of understanding around what motivated customers to upgrade, along with lack of clarity on the value of  upgrade interactions, hampered this global software leader’s ability to plan, improve, and accurately anticipate  customer actions and revenue drivers. Internal research showed that customers didn’t receive a consistent and  relevant experience across product lifecycles. But what would it take to turn around this negative trend on  high-margin revenues? This engagement focused on understanding, measuring, and improving the upgrade  (repurchase) lifecycle of midmarket business customers.

Approach: Understand the experience delivery process, and quantify customer motivations

Focusing on the greatest revenue opportunities, we mapped the customer experience—wants, needs, interactions, and emotions—through the re-purchase stages of the customer journey. Specifically, we analyzed the process in depth at the stages of consideration, knowledge, (re) purchase, satisfaction, and loyalty. After analyzing existing data, we conducted a series of internal interviews with a cross-section of management and channel-facing staff to understand internal opinions, defining the current upgrade process and deployment support systems.

We then conducted qualitative, highly directional research, through structured 1-on-1 interviews with partners (resellers) and end-user customers, measuring and analyzing customer perspectives and motivations. Specific deliverables included:

  • A high-level lifecycle definition for mid-market customers;
  • A framework recommendation for measuring customer touchpoint
    management efforts;
  • Customer journey maps by personadefined customer and partner segments;
  • Customer needs and levers to progression, by lifecycle stage;
  • Customer experience and touchpoint gaps and redundancies.

Customer experience and touchpoint analysis led to a restructuring of the upgrade process, with a 37% reduction in total touchpoints and opportunities for cost reduction and process efficiency improvement of over 20% each.

Findings: Significant disconnects between internal, partner and customer perceptions

While a better understanding of motivations to upgrade was key, a more critical—and illuminating—finding was that the company fundamentally misunderstood the process for upgrading software from the customer and partner perspective. While the prescribed upgrade process was highly detailed, it simply was not practiced
or endorsed by the marketplace. Findings included:

  • Employees (all categories) and partners rated the defined upgrade
    process poorly;
  • Fundamentally flawed, the process for
    deploying upgrades was dictated by “others” in the corporation;
  • Reseller partners engaged in “work arounds” to satisfy customers;
  • Corporate touchpoints were rated lowest performing by all audiences;
  • The lowest cost touchpoints had among the highest efficacy;
  • Highest-value customers averaged 14 touchpoints, while some of the
    lowest-value had over 40.

In combination, these findings rendered the bulk of all company controlled upgrade-related touchpoints (740 in total, across 17 different types) irrelevant.

Designing a Better B2B Customer and Partner Experience

Across 17 categories of “touchpoint types,” most corporate touchpoints had a negative impact on the quality of customer experience and were poor at meeting needs, while partner touchpoints tended to be better received and were more effective.

Recommendations: Exceed expectations with an integrated upgrade strategy focused on high-value journey stages and interactions

Recommendations were filtered through the lens of touchpoint value, cost, and efficacy, as measured by their ability to move customers through the upgrade channel. This entailed reducing the number of individual touchpoints, focusing on high-value touchpoints, and reorganizing the upgrade process. McorpCX also made recommendations for ongoing measurement (and integration) of partner and customer feedback.

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